DIVUS is a manufacturer of smart home devices placed in the middle of South Tyrol’s mountains, in the north of Italy. The company builds its products with its own hardware and it programs its own software to make them come to life. DIVUS has a distribution network covering most European countries and a lot of other countries around the world.
Interview with Federico Leverato, Research & Development Engineer at DIVUS.
Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?
Federico Leverato: Our main targets are visualization systems for smart homes based on the KNX bus, wall mounted touch panels and SIP based intercom systems, while we still do a small part of industrial PCs also – which is where we started in 2002.
E.E: What’s the news about new products?
F.L: We are currently focused especially on our two youngest products: the DIVUS KNX IQ which is a stand-alone touch panel to be mounted on a wall, capable of playing both as a controlling device through its KNX visualization app and as a server for other panels or mobile devices. At the same time, it can be used as an answering device for SIP based intercoms, to show security cameras and more. Then there is the DIVUS CIRCLE, our iconic outdoor station in black glass. Its product family recently grew to welcome the new DIVUS CIRCLE small C* and DIVUS SQUARE small C* which, while maintaining most of the CIRCLE’s features and functionalities, comes in CORIAN® offering different colours and shapes.
E.E: What are the ranges of products?
F.L: DIVUS offers several product families: the DIVUS TOUCHZONE is a wall mount touch panel coming in 10, 15 and 19” with black or white frame. It offers a lot of customization possibilities to be adapted to the user’s needs and the set of apps to run on it may be freely chosen. The DIVUS SUPERIO is an alternative coming in a different design and with WINDOWS as operating system, but the same screen sizes from 10 to 19” and similar possibilities to customize what software should run on them. The DIVUS CIRCLE, which is an outdoor intercom station with a lot of interesting features and a stunning design, also is the head of a product family comprising the DIVUS CIRCLE small and small+ which still come in black glass but in a smaller size and the already mentioned CORIAN® versions. We offer two different solutions for KNX visualisations: OPTIMA is the software running on DIVUS D+ and DIVUS KNX SERVER for projects with special needs and wishes, and VISION is the software running exclusively on the DIVUS KNX IQ to offer an easy, fast and intuitive way to control your KNX based smart home at a very attractive price.
E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?
F.L: The smart home market is continuously evolving nowadays. We have the KNX bus in the professional, high-end range on one hand and lots of nice and promising projects in the consumer market on the other hand. Both sides are evolving. Both have the main goal of making our homes smarter and thus our lives easier. There are obviously differences when you look at the reliability, the long-term availability and – not last – the cost. Today it is certainly the better choice to rely on systems like KNX; a bus system which is not manufacturer dependent and not proprietary. This means you will find compatible hardware also in 10 or 20 years and even if one manufacturer may not exist anymore 10 years from now, there will be others offering switches, actuators or visualisation systems still compatible with the KNX protocol. On the downside, there is a higher cost of such a system when you compare it to devices you can buy on (e.g.) Amazon.
In a not so far future, I think these two approaches will converge. The good parts of both sides will make it to the middle and in the middle, there will be the smart homes of the future.
Working in this market is fascinating. It’s also a responsibility. Specially in times like these, our smart homes should help us to make our lives not only easier, but also more climate friendly, more efficient, more responsible.
E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?
F.L: Market trends in the smart home market, and probably in every market, are sometimes customer-driven and sometimes industry-driven. Either way, they can succeed or fail due to a lot of factors. For sure we hear a lot about energy management currently, for example. My bet is that this trend is going to stay also after our current problems with energy prices, climate changes and wars will be gone. Future homes will all be smarter and energy-efficient because that’s how they should be. Other trends are still in their early stages and betting on them is riskier. Will we control our smart homes by voice? It’s surely the most natural way, but the systems are not yet smart enough to understand all our requests. Will AI rise up to close that gap? That’s a third, very promising trend. We are teaching machines how to learn and how to take decisions based on that. It’s more of a background trend today, but soon it may flow into our everyday lives. A last trend worth mentioning is that of the integration: the attempt to bring possibly all technologies together, translating each single proprietary communication language (protocol) into a sort of “super language” everybody understands. There have been several attempts to achieve this, but no one really succeeded yet. Currently there is one especially promising because it is backed by a lot of the “big players”. It’s one of those occasions where you can clearly observe that some unwritten social laws also work in the industry: if we work together instead of everyone looking only at their own interests, the result may be bigger than what we can achieve alone and beneficial for everyone.
E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?
F.L: The DIVUS KNX IQ is the first wall mounted touch panel for KNX visualizations supporting KNX Data secure. This means that you can use the KNX bus in its encrypted form for projects where this level of security is required.
In general, we sell innovation with our products: they are continuously developed and you continue to get new features, new functions, new possibilities through updates which we frequently publish. To make this sound less pompous and more concrete: DIVUS KNX IQ this year got the following new features: an alternative design for the elements’ layout called SLIM DESIGN, the option of pairing a client device over the cloud, push notifications, a new element for tuneable white lights, a redesigned RGB(W) element, thermostat-logic elements which substitute hardware thermostats by their own software heating or cooling logic. DIVUS CIRCLE received the option to bind it to our cloud and to receive door calls also on mobile devices – no matter whether you are home or anywhere else.
E.E: What estimations do you have for the rest of 2022?
F.L: We recently were at our first big fair after the pandemic, in Frankfurt, the LIGHT+BUILDING. We missed that and now we hope our new contacts will bring in some nice new opportunity. For the rest, we are too focused on new products for the upcoming year and new software releases to wonder about estimations. At least…I am.
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